The Duchess is here. Exclusive with DJ/Producer Royalty
Royalty of the Electronic Music Kingdom is here, catch her vibe at here.
Duchess: But I mean, I guess just that kind of follows as you’re producing your own music. So eventually you are going to want to play your own gigs and stuff too.
LASM x TDR: Well let’s give it up for Duchess then.
Duchess:Great name honey. I love that name. yeah. Speaking of the name. it was actually three years ago when I started actually playing gigs and I, my name is Karen and I didn’t feel like Karen was really appropriate name for like electronic Dj. Dj Karen doesn’t sound right.
LASM x TDR: How did the Duchess come about then?
Duchess: It was actually just one of my girlfriend’s idea. And I was like; I guess that could work especially because most of my gigs were in Hollywood. It’s kind of like it’ll work for Hollywood. And then, when I started releasing some of my first songs, kind of just stuck to me. Cool. And what was it?
LASM x TDR: I feel like it screams bow down. Absolutely. I feel like it screams Hollywood royalty.
Duchess: There was also like a lot of like easy marketing opportunities around it as far as like, my first mix series. It was called ‘Message to the Dupe.’ And another example, my friend owns a jewelry brand called w, x, y, z. And they do, like geometric, like headpieces and one of them is a crown. So that kind of just like, what’s my first Promo photo shoot wearing the crown. So yeah, it just worked and yeah.
LASM x TDR: Cool. It got you this far. I like that. So can you tell us where are you from? Because we hear a little accent, little twang in there.
Duchess: Why don’t you start hanging out with me a lot? You start hearing it. I’m from Iceland, born and raised. I moved to L.A. when I was 20, 6 years ago. And, yeah, pretty much haven’t left
LASM x TDR: Was it a small town you’re raised in and how did you deal with that culture change when you came to L.A.?
Duchess: Well, I mean, the population there is like below 300,000, so the entire country’s kind of like a small town.
LASM x TDR: There’s almost 500,000 realtors alone in California.
Duchess: It was definitely a drastic change coming out here. But there’s no such thing as like pursuing electronic music in Iceland unfortunately, yet. So when I wanted to go to music school, L.A. was obviously like the ideal place to come and do that.
LASM x TDR: So that’s amazing. That’s so bold. Did you know anyone out here?
Duchess: Yeah, my sister actually, she’s a singer, and songwriter and a pianist. And she’s been out here for I think 10 years now. So like having her out here, it was obviously more like a motive to come as well.
LASM x TDR: Right. You knew you’d be supported.
Duchess: Yeah, exactly.
LASM x TDR: That’s a great feeling coming to California.
LASM x TDR: So, within your music then, what would you describe your sound?
Duchess: I think that it’s really important that like electronic music remains like true to its core as far as, where music is originated from, which is real instruments.
LASM x TDR: I love it. I love that Duchess.
Duchess: So all my original production contained some sort of real instruments, live instruments like that are recorded and then manipulated in the production itself. Everybody has their own thing. But for me, as far as like creating a motion with your music, I just think that’s a little challenging if it’s all like computer made. So yeah, that’s probably…
LASM x TDR: So then I can gather that you play instruments. What do you play?
Duchess: I play the piano. And, I mean, like, I studied piano as a kid, so I know music theory and so like, I can play. I can record some like bass chords and stuff, but I don’t necessarily play a full song or anything. But knowing music theory and having that background is really important.
LASM x TDR: Well, I just want to tell you, I have mad respect for you. Like when I hear people talk about instrumentation and like full sound. Everything is so computerized. And I remember you were saying that your sister played the piano, who was here before you? So that’s already like, I’m like, okay. So she, they know about like instruments, like pianos like the foundation of it all. Yeah, maybe drums first and then piano. So with that being said, since you are like, what I consider a real musician because you have respect for instrumentation and not just everything computerized, where do your influences come from?
Duchess: So, I come…
LASM x TDR: Musically?
Duchess: … I come from, my entire family. They’re all musicians. My dad’s a musician. My brother is, my sister is, so like I grew up just in music. And my dad was, I can say without hesitation, he was in the like most popular pop band of his generation. Like back in the ‘90s.
LASM x TDR: … It’s in your DNA. So what’s his name? I want to know.
Duchess:… His name is Gretar and…
LASM x TDR: Gretar. And this is in Iceland?
Duchess: This is in Iceland.
LASM x TDR: Like he performed all around Iceland. Okay. Wow.
Duchess: I don’t know if any of you have heard of a song contest and in Europe called Eurovision. Best way to describe how like significant that is over there is to compare it to I guess the Super Bowl. Like, that’s how seriously people in Europe take it. So it’s this contest where each country from Europe, they bring one song in the contest and like, then the whole nation votes and one country wins. And speaking of like Iceland, I think it’s the smallest country in Europe. So my dad’s band placed third in 1990, fourth in 1992 and then some years later, 10th. And so he’s like, been up there and we are the smallest country in Europe. So, he’s, a lot of respect for my dad. Yeah, he really crushed it.
LASM x TDR: Let’s give it up for dad. We got to look him up. For sure.
Duchess: Yeah. So influences like, since he was a pop artist, I guess, David Foster, Baby Face … just those were his biggest influences. So that’s kind of like what I grew up listening to. So as far as like, just a lot of melodic like elements in my electronic music, that’s definitely the influence.
LASM x TDR: She’s only 26-years-old. Listening to Baby Face and George Michael like was he even alive when you, and I’m just end up just, it’s like you know real music girl. I’m loving you right now. Do you think that you would go back and compete in the same thing that he did.
Duchess: Most likely not because I think like that contest in particular is more like a pop, like kind of song contest. I have yet to see anyone submit an electronic track to that. But who knows. I don’t know if maybe me and my dad all work together one day and…
LASM x TDR: I hope so. That will be pretty cool.
Duchess: Never know it might happen.
LASM x TDR: Even if just for performance, you know what I’m saying? And then before you know it, you just lay that track. Even if you’re laying it live. You’ve got to do that. I feel that. I feel that.
Duchess: I wouldn’t be surprised if one day I would compete in it. But…
LASM x TDR: I’m so going to listen to George Michael as soon as we finish this interview. I just wanted to say that it’s on my mind.
Duchess: …Just like if you’re in a funk, just listen to George Michael.
LASM x TDR: Okay. So, are there any like projects that you are working on or any ideas you have, anything that you want to bring to light?
Duchess: I’m currently, the goal for this year in particular is, I have two e-piece that I’m working on. One of them is my own. It’s been a work in progress for a long time. I’m really like, I need everything to be perfect. I’ll sit over a high hat for eight hours. It’s just like that.
LASM x TDR: That’s why you’re amazing.
Duchess: Thank you. But that and then, I do have a dual project that I’m also working on that I can’t really announce yet. So…
LASM x TDR: Really! Why did you even mention it. We can’t wait. We’ll be patient.
Duchess: Wait for it.
LASM x TDR: So you are sure you’re going to be back. You’re coming back to tell us about this is going on.
Duchess: Definitely. So I would say those are the main focuses at the moment. That, and I’m playing two festivals, which is kind of like what I would ideally want to end up kind of only doing like. I really like the whole festival, like scene and playing those big shows where it’s like a community type of thing more so than just a nightclub.
Duchess:And then, the second year that they are hosting, I don’t know if you guys have heard about it. It’s called Art with Me in Tulum. I played there last year. So I played there last year and playing there again in this year as well.
LASM x TDR: What has been your favorite place thus far that you’ve performed at?
Duchess: Definitely Lightning in a Bottle last year. That was like, it was just unbelievable. It’s just one of those festivals where it’s just such a, like loving community, mentality over there. So, I’ve never seen more like engagement with the crowd. I was playing for. So that was just like, yeah, definitely like an unbelievable experience for me.
LASM x TDR: I got a Deep House trivia for you. So where the house music come from?
Duchess: House Music come from, have any of you seen the documentary called Pump up the Volume?
LASM x TDR: Yes, I have.
Duchess: Okay. So you know.
LASM x TDR: Exactly. That’s why it’s sexy.
Duchess: Answers your question.
LASM x TDR: We have an electronic music people in here. And I’m from Chicago, so…
LASM x TDR: …just Chicago, Detroit, then Europe. Yeah.
Duchess: Well Chicago, did you, Brooklyn too?
LASM x TDR: It came back there but it didn’t stay.
LASM x TDR: They didn’t claim it.
Duchess: Berlin for sure. I mean like I…
LASM x TDR: Berlin, with children of us.
Duchess: … Children in their own way because, like the House Music, like how’s House started in America, that’s for sure. But you know, the underground techno, like more…
LASM x TDR: Europe.
Duchess: …That’s Europe.
LASM x TDR: Totally Europe. All day. Yes. But there’s nothing like original house.
LASM x TDR: Nothing like it.
Duchess: No, it’s really not. That’s where like I’m back to the three questions ago. When I say like digital, kind of just sound to live in a computer. What I mean is, it can be great and really well made. And like I’m not saying I never play it, but it really speaks to me on like a really like serious level when there’s like real instruments and it’s like, remains true to its core because it is music.
LASM x TDR: Have you ever played in New York?
LASM x TDR: Where?
Duchess: I was just there playing the week before Halloween. I played at Gospel and Elmira, and Hobby Joss.
LASM x TDR: Great spots. When I was in New York, I used to go to another spot called the Shelter. And I don’t know if it’s still, I haven’t been back for a little while. But the scene in the house music in there, just that, the energy. As a Dj, I can’t even begin to relate as to what it would be like to be able to command a crowd within that. Because I’ve been in festivals over in Amsterdam where it’s a sea of people. And you have no choice but to have or feel some type of way your vibe is like that.
Duchess: You’re drowning.
LASM x TDR: So as the conductor of that, I couldn’t even imagine what that would feel like for you guys.
Duchess: It’s pretty unbelievable. It really gives you life, especially when like you’re so passionate about music. And so that feeling of like kind of being able to have that type of influence on like the crowd and like have them feel what you’re feeling. It’s an exceptional feeling for sure.
LASM x TDR: Definitely. Speaking of feelings and these moments, is there a moment in your life when your musical career that you would say that you’re most proud of?
Duchess: I think that’s the same thing. My Lightning in a Bottle set last year. So what happened was that I had this whole set like kind of planned and lined up, but then what happened was, because of this like passion in the room and from the people. I totally did not follow any of that and just really played my heart out.
LASM x TDR: I love it. I love it.
Duchess: And I just didn’t even go into that playlist and I was like, I’m just going to play all of my favorite songs and what makes me like feel amazing and just, it was like, I really crushed it. I was really proud of that. I’m not going to shave off it.
LASM x TDR: That’s cool. I would have been too. I like, I feel like the energy of what you felt in that moment. I love it. Thanks for sharing that with us. What would you like your supporters to know about you? Maybe they don’t know already through media, might not.
Duchess: I would like my supporters to know that I’m like empathetic to what my listeners are feeling just like myself.
LASM x TDR: Really intuitive.
Duchess: Just, I care a lot about creating this like emotional experience for the people because that’s what it does for me. I hope to have a positive impact on people’s lives I guess because for me personally, it’s like music is just the highest form of art. It’s healing on its own way. So…
LASM x TDR: Definitely. Wow. It is crazy. You’re correct because music is, it, and they said it let, on the Grammys, it’s the thing that just transcends everything.
LASM x TDR: You know what I mean? It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, red, yellow, green is going to translate to you in your own way. And that’s what’s awesome about music.
Duchess: Yeah. And it brings everything and everyone together.
LASM x TDR: Speaking so, about the music then, how can people follow you and follow your music? Where can we find your social media?, how can we do?
Duchess: So I obviously have Instagram. Who doesn’t I have Instagram? It’s a Dutchesk music with a k in the end. Same thing for my song code page. Okay. I have most of my like sets from all the festivals and everything are posted on there. I do have a few tracks on, I mean be port.com for dj’s if they want to buy it and play it. But as far as following, I’d say Instagram and Soundcloud.
LASM x TDR: Okay, cool. Awesome. It looks like we come to the end of this. But… My favorite... We got to find out before you go. We have a question that we ask and we’re going to ask the panel at some point in time because I have to read, fix my answer because there’s something else. But anyway, today about you, we need to know, what is your superpower?
Duchess: My Sup… Oh, I can fly.
LASM x TDR: Okay. That was a good one. She got us. What is your superpower?
Duchess:My superpower? That’s a good question. I guess you’d say that this exaggerated like passion I have for music itself is a superpower in its own way. Because it’s that drive and to really put my heart, and like into every detail of what I do. And I don’t think if I didn’t have that, because there’s, people out there that, doing music, as a side Gig or whatever. So I think that, this like overly exaggerated passion and love.
LASM x TDR: There it is. That was like it’s one word and it’s right there. Exactly. It’s love. It’s beautiful.
LASM x TDR: Love of music.
Duchess: I can’t think of anything else.
LASM x TDR: Indeed. It’s the love of music.
Duchess: That’s what it is.
LASM x TDR: So if you ever look and find some house programs from Chicago, from programs, that is. But there you have it. Thanks for coming through. And yeah. Thanks for giving us your time and love and support.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.